Big time baseball

I’m writing while watching the WBC Championship Game between Los Estados Unidos y Puerto Rico…and i must say…i’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Spring “classic” tournament this go round.  I know it’s not a super popular thing to like the WBC, but maybe that’s a thing of the past?  For the past week and a half, i’ve checked in to just about every game and have been captivated by the intensity of professional baseball players in early…now mid March.  Honestly, i’ve enjoyed the baseball tourney significantly more than the basketball tourney that’s going on these days.  Mostly due to the fact that i’m not a huge basketball fan, and i’m a big baseball fan, but more than that.  It’s the level of competition and intensity each nation has laid out for each game.  Plus you get to see some major talent that are teammates during the season compete against each other in these games…looking at you Manny and Adam…I don’t know, i think it’s a beautiful thing and I hope you do too…This is very entertaining baseball, maybe not baseball at it’s highest most intense level, but great to watch.  And Marcus Stroman…man, what a night for the Blue Jay kid.

I haven’t picked up any new cards in a while, but had a few Bowman cards sitting around from a box of 2015 i bought a few months ago.  In hopes of not wasting your time, here are the hits.

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First up to bat is a Giants prospect Daniel Carbonell with an autograph that looks like he may have passed out before he wrapped up the ‘n’ in his name.  Maybe he had to grab a snack and refuel, i get it…you’re working, you get distracted and forget to eat…it happens.  Daniel learned how to write his ‘D’s just like i did when i was in grade school…and for that, i say ‘atta boy!

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Mr. Juan Herrera, a Cardinals prospect a the time has basically signed his card like i sign one of those electronic signature devices these days.  A big ‘K’ followed by scribble and then a big ‘R’ followed by more scribbles…in this case, we see a big ‘J’ and a ‘H’.

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Raisel Iglesias.  This guy seems like he could be on target for the Reds closer job…assuming the all too important ‘good health’ caveat.  I must admit, this autograph made me smile quite a bit.  Just write the last name and your number please…first names aren’t important here.

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Endrys Briceno signs his card ‘Ends’ as in the ends of this WBC is about to happen after Stanton bounced that ball of the right centerfield wall.  Detroit Tigers.

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Rowdy Tellez.  So this is one guy i did a little research on prior to posting his card and was surprised to find out that he is only 22.  I kind of thought he had been around for a few years and was in his mid to late 20’s.  Also, i think his autograph looks like what i would imagine Ron Jeremy’s autograph would look like.

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It figures that a left would sign his card justified to the left…and keep all the ink to the left…lefties man…Also, the name Gonsalves is very unique, maybe even odd.  He’s another one of those 22 year old people.

I got Adam Jones as my WBC tourney MVP.  That catch was everything.  Amazing play in a big play moment.  Plus he’s really a great guy…can’t help but imagine what kind of career he would have had if he wasn’t traded from Seattle for Erik freakin’ Bedard!

So, a year ago i was working late at work…really late.  I was on a ridiculous deadline and working until midnight 3-4 times a week for 4+ months.  Although it was a brutal time, i managed to listen to a lot of spring training baseball and a ton of new music.  In between breaks of music and working (and whiskey drinking) I jumped on to twitter and was deeply saddened when i saw that Phife Dawg had died.  I believe it was around 11pm when i found out and it just stopped me and my thought process…i couldn’t do anything the rest of the night.  A Tribe Called Quest was one of those groups that i fell in love with immediately as a teenager and continued to love through my twenties, thirties and now forties.  Losing Phife was devastating…but as it’s an unfortunate part of life, you try to focus on what they did while they were here and not focus on the fact that they are gone…so, tonights video is  one of my favorite Tribe songs…and maybe another one of Phife, just for fun.

thanks for reading tonight.

Cabin fever cards

About a month ago, my family took a weekend trip to Mt. Hood, with me, i went too.  We’re lucky enough to have good friends that own a small cabin in the woods and are more than happy and willing to share the tiny abode from time to time.  It’s near Rhododendron, which is close to Zig Zag, which is close to Welches, which is close to Government Camp, which is close to Mt. Hood…it’s on Mt. Hood actually.  The cabin is a small, one bed timber framed cabin with a kitchenette, it’s…umm… cozy…(read small)…but it is nicely nestled in the forest off a small unpaved road.  Normally the roads are covered in snow, but we were able to visit just after a heavy rain storm that washed away most of the snow, leaving some ice.

cabin road

I believe these cabins were once used to house park rangers that would work during the year.  It allowed them to retreat to a nice home after a long day at work rather than travel to and from their own homes each day.  For one person, these cabins are crazy comfortable, for two people, it’s perfect…for two people and a toddler…you need more space.  A LOT MORE SPACE!  But, hey it’s free…and i got some cards to open while i was there too!

That blurry flash is my child doing his best to run around in a small building while my wife makes snacks and i build a manly fire.  So, cards.

One of my goals with the renewed interest in blogging was to open packs or do something card oriented each time i travel.  We were kind of in that weird time of year where the 2016s didn’t interest me anymore and the new 2017’s weren’t out yet…other than the flagship Topps…which i already had a box of.  So i picked up one of those dreaded repack jobs that deliver very little in return.  Spoiler alert, my low expectations were met with a couple of mild surprises.  Let’s take a look.

As the box mentioned, 4 packs and a total of 50 cards and a BONUS!  Before we open everything, let’s do a little inventory.  The 4 packs were of 2015 Topps (2), 2016 Leaf Babe Ruth Collection (1), and 2016 Gypsy Queen (1).  The white box of surprises had a little mini Twins baseball guy which was quickly jacked by the toddler.  There were 53 cards in the white box, so i’m already ahead no matter what happens.  Here are some Topps highlights.

Justin Upton and Clayton Kershaw were the only names of significant note for me.  Hey, notice the vintage table pattern, apparently the table has been in the same location for over 50 years…i imagine it’s been moved a time or two to sweep though.

A couple insert cards.  High leg kicking Carlton and top 40 Free Agent Robbie Cano.  One of these guys is going in to my collection and the other one is going in to the Phillies box i got in my basement.  Let’s take a look at the Gypsy Queen cards!

A couple of real DBacks.

BB GQ McCovey

A power alley McCovey.

BB GQ mini Drury

And a mini Brandon Drury…a Diamondbacks hot pack i guess.  Now lets take a look at the Ruth cards.

Two odd photos of Babe Ruth, kids and bats.

Two odd photos of Babe Ruth swinging things that aren’t baseball bats.

BB LR Ruth 1

One photo of Babe Ruth doing baseball warm ups, his Career Achievements card…but what about that white box?  Mostly junk wax stuff, but kind of fun to look through.  There were three cards of note that made me want to take a photograph of them, and here they are…in order of how much i like them, from least to most.

BB box Jackson Winfield

Some Yankee stuff

BB box Posey

A Posey Bowman.

BB box Jeter

A Jeter Diamond King!  Yay!  This was by far the best card in the bunch, pretty nice card.  I think i may have a copy or two of this one, but it’s still a nice little piece to pull in a cabin in the woods.

the end…

Something that’s hopefully appropriate for this post…family member, Paul Riddle on the drum kit here.

 

Clemson Tigers!

I was born in South Carolina.  Conway Country, South Carolina, Myrtle Beach…Myrtle Beach Air Force Base to be exact.  My parents were both in the Air Force when i was born and they were born in South Carolina as well.  Both of my parents were born in South Carolina.  My mom was born in Charleston and My dad’s family was from Spartanburg, SC.  He was the son of a cotton factory worker that loved football, Clemson football.  Football is huge in Texas and really all throughout the south.  Every summer we would visit the Palmetto state, and when we went to Spartanburg we would go to the Beacon drive in.  It’s a bit of a divey drive in greasy spoon kinda place, but damn that food is good!  And the walls were always covered in Clemson newspaper clippings, Frank Howard and Danny Ford photos along Tiger memorabilia everywhere…not so much with the other school in the state, the Cocks, just mostly Clemson Tigers.  So, as a young’n my college football team was chosen.  The Clemson Tigers.  A Tigers fan in the state of Texas, where i could have chosen the Longhorns or Aggies or Red Raiders or whatever…I stuck with my family on this one.  Football hasn’t been too nice to me over the past few years.  The ebbs and flow of a football season are quite emotional, far more than baseball, which i think is why i’m more drawn to the diamond than the gridiron.  But tonight, my team won and it feels great!…and yes, i did order some Panini Clemson Tigers cards tonight.

Now to some baseball cards.

Wrapping up my box of Topps update with the hits.  Like i said, nothing too major, but some cool decent stuff from the jumbo box.

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Christian Vazquez – Boston Red Sox Scouting Report Certified Autograph

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Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals All Star Game 2016 Event Worn Workout Jersey

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Willie McCovey – San Francisco Giants 500 Home Run Club Capt. James Cook Stamp

My mind is a little distracted right now and i’m having a little difficulty writing and listening to ESPN, so i’m just going to let the images be.  That Captain James Cook stamp got me doing some serious research though on global sailing, exploration and cartography.  Maybe i can save some of my research for another (re)post.

Hope you guys have a great night!  Here’s a cool song my wife introduced me to a couple of days ago…probably late on these guys, but love the song!  Enjoy.

Mile High Hogs

When i travel to a new destination I like to pick up a few packs or a blaster from the local Target or Wal-Mart.  It’s kind of a souvenir.  A souvenir that matters to me and hand a greater level of value than a cheesy shirt (although i love an odd shirt now and again…).  The cards serve as a little reminder of the town I was in, an artifact from a past vacation.  In the past, the trips have been via automobile and the cards were a little easier to handle since i could always see where they were and keep them safe and sound.  The last couple of trips though have been via airplane…the friendly skies!  When traveling, i’m always concerned about the safety and security of the cards and tend to open them up when i get home.  Not this time though, i wanted to join the mile high club!  Well, i wanted my cards to join the mile high club…of sorts.  So i did it on a plane earlier this week!

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Since we card people don’t like damaged cards, getting these guys on the plane safely was a bit of an emotional journey for me.  Going through security and boarding a plane is difficult enough!  My first concern was the lovely TSA folks that can be a little handsy with people and peoples stuff.  The only thing worse than the disinterested cashier man-handling (woman-handling…? person-handling…?) the cards and dropping them 18″ to the bottom of a plastic bag is definitely getting them through TSA.  They pick up bags and boldly ask “THIS RED ONE YOURS SIR!”, why, yes.  The red bag that i was about to grab is mine…definitely my bag.  The surly looks that follow…them, not me…i’m nice.  Half the battle has been fought, but the war has not been won.  I still need to get these unprotected packs boarded and loaded on a flying tube with an ever increasing shortage of personal stowing space.  Done deal.  Packs located gently on my fold away tray until i am told to hide my fold away tray.  See the photo above (and now below) that was after we reached our cruising altitude…so no foul there although my phone was not in airplane mode.

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Normally when i’m opening a pack of cards i like to have space to lay them out and sort them as i go through the cards.  Kinda particular about those sorts of things, you know.  It’s nice to have a little layout space and a clean surface to boot.  In hindsight this plan would have been better if i had a more sturdy box to put them in afterwards.  Enough with the long winded build up.  Here is what was pulled.

Tyler Glasnow – Pittsburgh Pirates | Alex Bergman – Houston Astros

Dee Gordon – Miami Marlins | Cole Hamels – Texas Rangers

Brian McCann – New York Yankees | Tyler White – Houston Astros

Kenta Maeda – Los Angeles Dodgers | Gleyber Torres – New York Yankees

Javier Guerra – San Diego Padres | Jorge Mateo – New York Yankees

Kolby Allard – Atlanta Braves | Lucius Fox – San Francisco Giants

Not a bad pack, no real jaw droppers.  I do like the three Yankee cards and the Alex Bergman is nice as well as the Maeda card.  They all have a nice little shine to them as well.  My wife, sitting in the miserable middle seat (love ya babe!) was particularly fascinated by the shiny-ness of these cards which the cabin lighting made a little extra sexy!  Here’s pack two!

JP Crawford – Philadelphia Phillies | Austin Meadows – Pittsburgh Pirates

Raul Mondesi Jr. – Kansas City Royals | Byron Buxton – Minnesota Twins

Eddie Rosario – Minnesota Twins | Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds

Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals | Billy McKinney – Chicago Cubs

Tyler O’Neill – Seattle Mariners | Conner Greene – Toronto Blue Jays

Brady Aiken – Cleveland Indians | Francis Martes – Houston Astros

Each of the cards made it home safe and sound, no dings, no dents, no errors.  Twenty Four shiny cards to sit and wait on now…will they become stars or not…!

So there you go.  That was the very first time i’ve ever busted a pack on a plane, in the air above the United States of America.  Hope you enjoyed the show!

***BIG PIMPIN***

Now it’s time to do some contest pimpin’ for Collector’s Crack and his annual NFL playoff contest!

Almost the Easiest Super Bowl Contest on the Web

Since i don’t have to deal with the emotions of having my team in it this year, i’m free to pick a SB matchup that will hopefully be closer to reality…and so should you!  So, hit that link and sign up!  But first, in honor of CB’s contest i thought i’d post a couple of videos in line with all the pimpin’.  First is one of my favorite UGK songs and the other is an interesting documentary on Pimp C that i haven’t quite gotten through yet.  It’s by Mass Appeal, so you can’t really go wrong though.

Favorite card of 2016

Ok, sometimes i like to participate in the activities that other are participating in.  I’m human…it’s human nature to want to be around other like minded folks.  People that share your same interest, goals…hobbies.

So with keeping up with the blogses, here is my favorite card from the weird ass year of 2016:  Big shoutout to P-Town Tom over at Eamus Catuli

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2016 Topps Stadium Club card #194 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants OF

This card is my favorite because it’s just a bad ass photo of a bad ass baseball player.  From the lower perspective looking up to the foreshortening of the bat in Willie’s hands and the ghost like mirage of the light standard in the background.  Stadium club has always been a favorite set of mine, but something i’ve never decided to collect for no real reason at all.  The glossy finish of the face and thicker card stock is also extremely attractive to me.  The  back of the card though, leaves a lot to be desired…so much so that i decided not to scan it, and i’ve been on a crazy back-scanning rampage of late.  I apologize for that to those that are not interested in card backs.

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Apparently, Willie enjoyed this bat pose so much he attempted to teach a young John F. Kennedy Jr. the proper technique while he was wrapping up his career with the New York Metropolitans.  Not sure the cameraman and young John John really got what Willie was trying to do.  Sometimes legends are just ahead of the curve i guess.

We got hit with another little snow attack today and it took quite some time to get home…luckily this song was available to my ears and served as a calming agent while i slipped and slid up and down the west hills of Portland to our home.

2014 Topps S1 – Packs 3 and 4

Ok, here are some of the highlights from packs 3 and 4.  Nothing overly exciting or notable so this is mostly a post about what I got rather than “HOLY CRAP!! LOOK AT WHAT I GOT!”

In the previous post I pulled two Jean Segura Inserts and whattayaknow, in the third pack, I pulled another!  How many The Future is Now cards does this kid have?  Oh yeah, in the fourth pack I got the Future Stars version of Mr. Segura.  Here is a side by side comparison of the base bandit with eye black and without eye black.  Run Jean Run!

14 TO Jean Segura Future is Now

The next couple of pairings come with mixed feelings.

I love Jeet and think this could be the last season we see him in a  major league uniform.  I guess it’s going to depend on how he can recover and produce in the revamped Yankee lineup.  It’s going to be a whole different world without #2 at short…here’s hoping he has a great season and we get to see him pick it for another year or two…or three.  It will make his gift baskets so much more valuable, especially his balls that he gives to the ladies.  His scan partner is A-Rod.  I’m really glad he won’t be on the field this season.  I’ve mentioned many times in the past that I can’t stand the kid and hope he never rocks the pinstripes again.  Such a self-absorbed, neon orange chump.

14 TO Jeter ARod

These guys are the future for the Yankees rivals.  Bogaerts and Machado are going to be great players for so many years…oh…so…many…years.  Those Machado ears though.  Kinda with Xander was a Yankee…that’s my problem with the Yankees organization, they just don’t ever seem to develop major league talent.  They have tons of guys that have the potential, but it never works out for them.  Xander picked up some great experience in the World Series last year…good for him…

14 TO Machado Bogaerts

Up here in Portland as in many other cities throughout our beautiful country.  Beards have taken over. Along with beards, you have facial hair of many types, like curly mustaches.  I’ve never been a fan of facial hair and do my best to keep my face clear of facial hair other than the times I’m too lazy to shave.  One thing I would never do though, is sculpt my facial pubes in the same manner as Mr. New House.  It’s just way too much time sculpting and crafting in front of the mirror.  We have lots of guys with handlebar staches in this great town I live in and they are the only guys I will order an old fashioned from.  They are the ones who know how to make them properly.  Not with all that muddled fruit crap.  Just whiskey, bitters, sugar cube an orange slice and cherry.  Any bartender that muddles the fruit and turns your drink into a pink liquor concoction should not be trusted…and will more than likely not have a handlebar mustache.

14 TO Carlos Villanueva

Here is the hits part of our program.

First up.  Elvis Andrus.  A great glove and a mediocre bat.  So here is a bat card with a picture of him throwing a ball.  Nice photo/object coordination.

14 TO Elvis Andrus Bat Relic

Next.  Matty Alou.  One of the 83 Alou’s (actually, I think it’s just 4) that have played Major League Baseball.  It’s a buyback, which means now that it is stamped nobody will buy it back.  At least Topps went smaller with their foil stamp logo.

14 TO Matty Alou 1963 Buyback

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 9 and 10

Rounding Home.

So, i was going to post the final two packs from my series two box last night but we had a nice family dinner night with my mother, mother in law and brother in law.  Where did we go you ask, well we went to Pok Pok.  If any of you ever venture up to Portland, it’s not to be missed.  The restaurant has received quite a bit of notoriety the past few years and a place that we love to visit whenever we get a chance.  If you do indeed make it to Pok Pok, you MUST get the wings.  They are unlike any other wings you have ever had, they are BETTER!  Just a little local Portland foodie plug for any foodies out there.  There is also a spot out in Brooklyn, which i’ve heard is not quite the same…guess you need that Southeast Portland flavor to make it great.

Back to cardboard.  I’ve only two packs left to share and there isn’t too much for gloriousness, as i’ve pulled the ‘hits’ already.  As has been the case with the previous posts, i like to show dueling or similar cards.  The two below feature great faces of intense physical exertion.  Joaquin and Jorge are both doing their ultimate lip pursing, almost to the point that their lips have disappeared…but they haven’t because that would be wierd.

13 T Joaquin Benoit Jorge De La Rosa

Next is the contorting Jered Weaver Cut to the Chase.  This photo gives you a great idea as to how much pressure pitching can put on your body…and of course there is more lip pursing.

13 T Jered Weaver Cut to the Chase

Enter Sandman Chasing History.  This is an open mouth lip pursing.  Something only legends can do.  Can you do it properly?

13 T Mariano Rivera Chasing History

Salvador Perez is super happy in this card.  I’m assuming it’s a walk off for the win…but no lip pursing.  Disappointing.

13 T Salvador Perez Black Border

Finally.  Tiny Tim Lincecum.  Look at those long flowing locks, splayed glove and a cream white ANTS jersey.  Does the MLB test for weed?  I know it’s not really a PED, but i can only imagine with this kid.  Inappropriate, i know…

13 T Tim Lincecum Chasing History